Yet another rambling-ish article from me on the nature of being a person who watches and likes things—ostensibly about anime, but theoretically applied to much more. In short, liking things is good and I like watching other people like things. So I hope I was able to encourage people to not be too afraid about sharing when they like things!
2 thoughts on “Aniwords – In Defense of Liking Things”
I just got into a discussion with one of my anime-watching friends over the weekend. He was interested in my thoughts on the Garupan movie, which he wants to see, and he mentioned he also wants to see Arpeggio of Blue Steel, which led to a broader discussion about the whole subgenre of moegirl military shows in general, including stuff like High School Fleet and KanColle too. And just like you said, as soon as I wanted to get excited to talk about them I found myself right away reflexively adding the qualifiers. “Well, they’re not anime Shakespeare, but….” And this was talking to someone else who likes those kind of shows! He’s not going to judge me for liking them too, so it was weird to realize that even then with no real reason to, I was still unconsciously holding back.
I think part of it is as you said, that there’s a certain vulnerability in admitting your feelings for something without reservation. I think part of it is also social pressure too. Within any body of work there’s always a critical consensus and a fan consensus on what’s “good” and what you’re “supposed” to like, and it’s hard sometimes to go against the consensus opinions, especially to say you like a show everyone else hates (somehow, hating a show most people like is usually a lot easier to do). Anyway, if you’re an anime fan, you might find yourself reflexively apologizing at some point for liking a polarizing show like Sword Art Online, K-On, KanColle, even Naruto. But I guarantee you’ve never once in your life heard any anime fan say, “Sorry, but I like xxxx” when they’re talking about Evangelion, or Bebop, or Spirited Away, because those are anime that critics and popular opinion have decided it’s “safe” to like. Even if the person you’re talking to isn’t a fan of Bebop, they’re not going to think it’s unusual that you are, so it’s easier to put yourself out for those because the wall of consensus opinion still offers some protection. It’s a very different proposition to declare your love for a show that the fan community’s ripped to shreds, like say, Mayoiga, or telling KyoAni fans that your favorite show from that studio is Beyond the Boundary instead of one of the shows they’d expect you to pick. Even if the other person doesn’t take umbrage at your opinion, they’ll still want to know why your opinion is so much different from theirs and everyone else’s, which in turn forces you to open up even more about your thoughts and feelings, unless you try to dodge the question entirely. And that kind of self-reflection is tough for a lot of people to do.
[…] feel free to let me know about yours if you have one. I also wanted to link iblessall’s article on liking things, it really gave me something to think about while writing this. And until next time, thanks for […]